John James In Concert


John James In Concert

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John James In Concert

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Item #sggw146

The British folk club scene is a fairly huge and unique underground institution. At any time since the early 1960's you would have been able to find a thousand or so weekly or monthly clubs gathering in all sizes of pub rooms around the land and in the Universities and colleges. In the great majority of these the guitar has been the commonest instrument; picked, strummed, thrashed and caressed in a multitude of styles and levels of competence. Fashions and fads come and go, but certain players have such a widespread influence that their own styles become part of the mainstream... When I heard the tapes of this album it impressed me as the essential John James. Probably because he was a working musician, that is, I never felt that his earlier studio albums (except for "Sky In My Pie" with Peter Berryman) did him full justice. His recent Kicking Mule debut "Descriptive Guitar Instrumentals" was probably the first to really showcase what a lively, fluent, creative and dynamic player he really is. This one not only does all that but really catches the essence of a John James performance. I'm a great believer in albums which truly represent the artist and if you've never seen John "live" you can take my word for it that this one does. What's more, it has a real cross section of the favorite tunes and songs from his stage repertoire over the past decade, plus a selection of newer goodies to join that company. – Ian Anderson/FolkRoots

Track Listing: (click on tracks for mp3 sound samples)
1. Picture Rags
2. Opus 18
3. Silver Swan
4. Suitcase Shaped Like That
5. Black And White Rag
6. Rosebud March
7. How Can I Tell You
8. Pickles And Peppers
9. Ragtime Millionaire
10. Head In The Clouds
11. Coconut Dance
12. Victory Rag
13. You And I Across The Water
14. B Minor Run
15. Tears
16. You Got Something There

Review: When pub talk turns to the pint-sloshing subject of formative 1970s folk guitarists from across the pond, the name John James invariably rises up to the sudsy surface. For it was the beardy Welshman's early sense for translating imported American ragtime piano that proved influential in teaching British acoustic guitars how to start speaking with far less of a distinctly "English" accent. Although contemporaries, he never bathed in the limelight glow as did a John Renbourn or a Bert Jansch. Nonetheless, his chops stirred quite the buzz around London, even opening "alone and unplugged" Led Zeppelin's fabled megawatt gig at the Roundhouse in 1968. Recorded onstage there a decade later, 1978 "John James in Concert" thoroughly captures how the pop in his fingers can turn a dusty pile of old rags "Black and White Rag," "Pickles and Peppers," Scott Joplin's "Silver Swan," the sung "Ragtime Millionaire" into an evening of bedazzling riches. And how his desert-dry comedic wit could tickle audiences, even if recounting tales of death-by-piano from the Victorian age. Except for a wee bit of Chris Billings' second guitar, this is a one-man show: delivering six-string shtick ("Suitcase Shaped Like That"), putting Joplin's "Rosebud March" through its dexterous paces, and, when needed, resorting back to his default mode of ragging on Blind Boy Fuller ("Something There"), on Doc Watson ("Victory Rag"), or on himself (his own "Picture Rags"). Oh, what a night. –Dennis Rozanski/Bluesrag

Review: Brilliant!! John James is a fantastic guitarist who never gets the recognition he deserves. This live CD presents a nice cross section of his work, from finger twisting instrumentals, to vocal numbers like 'With a Suitcase Shaped Like That' and (one of my favorites) the Dylan Thomas inspired 'One Long Happy Night'. He's joined on the last four tracks by guitarist Chris Billings. I hope more of his albums get released on CD soon. – Storywriter/Amazon Customer Review

Review: I first heard John James in London 1968, at 15 years really loved loved him. This album brings together his best. All the tracks are great. – Tony Coleman/Amazon Customer Review

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